Around the world in 15 drinks: New Year's Eve 2016

Ushering in the New Year in cities from Sydney to Casablanca to Mexico City involves plenty of drinks and merriment.
Ushering in the New Year in cities from Sydney to Casablanca to Mexico City involves plenty of drinks and merriment.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON - (THE GUARDIAN) - Granted 2016 was a stinker, but it was just a year, so let's try not to give it a hard time. Come midnight, you'll still be dissecting this annus horribilis with a proctologist's zeal, so perhaps prepare a proper liquid palliative to take the edge off. At least you won't be alone; the entire world has a grumble to guzzle through. Here then is a sipping schedule in Greenwich mean time to inspire international imbibing selections as midnight creeps across the planet. But don't drink them all - alcohol poisoning is a bad start to 2017. Happy new year!

11am: midnight in New Zealand
While Kiribati , Nuku'alofa, Apia and Neiafu are the earliest adopters of 2017, at 10am UK time, the first country we've heard of (firmly embracing our Brexit personas) is New Zealand. The Kiwis are producing great beer, so try the Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta, an IPA with Earl Grey tea, for a fine first brew of the day.

12pm: midnight in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug 
Russia Ah, Russia. So much promise in 2016 and yet the subversion and espionage proved to be merely groundwork. In 2017, with an unlikely American ally in Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin's gloves might finally come off with his shirt. Fingers crossed. If you do feel inclined to wish Mr Putin "vashe zdorovie" (we don't know how to say "ill health" #Brexit), then vodka will be required. But honestly, it's too early for vodka.

2pm: midnight in Sydney
Australians will shade from brutal sun rays behind a surprisingly artisanal drinks cabinet. Along with migration laws, alcoholic beverages have enjoyed aggressive reappraisal in recent decades. Our recommendation is the cold-press coffee liqueur from Mr Black , packed with punchy coffee beans to give you a lunchtime fillip.

3pm: midnight in Japan
The Japanese have four expressions for inebriation. Happy drunk: "warai jogo"; sad drunk: "naki jogo"; angry drunk: "okori jogo"; and, of course, sleepy drunk: "wakemeupbeforeyou jogo". So, drink some sake, for flip's sake, and see which one you are - our bet is sad or angry. It's also midnight in South Korea, where, for thousands of pounds, a biotech company will clone your dog . You might celebrate with rice distillate soju, the world's bestselling spirit , which pairs nicely with local cuisine such as jokbal (pig trotter), tteokbokki (fishcake) and bosintang (dog soup).

4pm: midnight in Beijing
The Chinese can celebrate their positive 2016 approach to climate diplomacy with their native beer Snow, the bestselling beer in the world . But if you started with the Kiwis then stick to jasmine tea.

6.30pm: midnight in India
Indian tiger numbers rose in 2016, which is ggggrreeeat for conservationists, less so for ungulates. Raise a glass to the stripy felines with the country's traditional mead. Sanskrit text refers to the Indian ritual madhurpurna, where honey beer, or mead, was shared in ornate receiver bowls and provoked the consecration of newlyweds, giving us the term "honeymoon". Ritzy revellers might re-enact it by skulling WKD, but for a mead alternative try Hiver honey beer.

8pm: midnight in the Middle East
A largely dry region and nothing much has happened here in 2016, so take a break and have a glass of milk. Sheik.

11pm: midnight in central Europe
As they wonder whether we're racists, Europe is already a step ahead of us and will spend a strengthened currency on an incredible range of alcohol. For the 48 per cent who still care, try a crisp German kölsch or tasty Belgian Trappist beer. The Dutch dip donuts into champagne at midnight; the Spanish rioja round the clocka and scoff 12 grapes; and the French might prepare for their own terrifying elections with absinthe. But our choice is vermouth, a fortified wine that's as French as it is Italian or German and flavoured with botanicals spanning European borders. As for any Brexiters reading: you want vermouth? You can't handle vermouth.

Midnight: UK and Casablanca
"Come on, right, this whole Brexit thing, it's happened, yeah? We've just got to get on with it, so let's enjoy something brilliantly British in 2017. Am I right, guys?" How about you do one. We'll be having a gin martini, but raising it to the gin joints of Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart loved a martini. Before finding fame he racked up enormous tabs he couldn't cover, and to repay his debts once took a bet that he could bite through a martini glass. Don't do that, things aren't that bad. Gin has a long association with Britain, but the best juniper, gin's essential botanical, is sourced from Europe. Just saying.

1am: midnight in Greenland
The ancient Arctic Inuit reportedly gulped gull wine, with the dead bird left in water to ferment. Not a drink worth getting in a flap about. Global warming, however … 3am: midnight in Rio Who'da thunk it? You systematically fell rainforests to farm corn and then along comes 2016 with a drought that destroys the harvest . Tough break, Brazil. Still, you've always had a way with sugar. Since the Portuguese cultivated it, this hardy grass has been at the base of alcoholic drinks, first fermented, then distilled as cachaça.

Have a caipirinha .

4am: midnight in Chile
A meaty Malbec, although a big red is a bold choice as we start to seriously consider bedtime.

5am: midnight in New York and Havana
Reaffirming the adage that nothing good happens after midnight, Americans will light the kindling of 2017 in Manhattan.

An old-fashioned is a traditional American serve , a stirred cocktail of whisky, sugar and bitters, with a moniker that sums up the current swerve on political sentiment. We'll instead turn to Cuban cocktails, with Havana Club , as we contemplate Castro.

6am: midnight in Mexico City
For the Mexicans not eschewing public holidays to earn overtime on wall building, perhaps some Pechuga mezcal . An appropriate spirit because, along with the Year of Trump, 2017 is coincidentally Chinese Year of the Rooster. The rooster is, of course, a heavy, non-migratory ground feeder otherwise known as the domestic fowl, or indeed cock. Meanwhile, the agave spirit Pechuga mezcal is distilled with a chicken breast.

7am: stop drinking, and go to bed Seriously, it's 2017, try to find a place to hide.

Noon: midnight on Baker Island
Stick on Indiana Jones, bung the last of the softening twiglets into a bowl and open a can of Coca-Cola. Then take a final nod in the direction of America as it prepares to burn itself into the sea because, as is sure to be the case in ongoing global trade deals, they are last to this party. Baker is a US atoll and will enjoy the final midnight moments, hosting the weary wings of the ruddy turnstones and bar-tailed godwits who will be very sober. As should you be. Now get on with 2017 in a more responsible fashion. Drink less, but drink better and remember, there's no sense in giving drink up in January, by far the grimmest month of the year.

Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham are drinks writers and comedians.